March 3, 2015, Chino Valley- About 1:30 PM, as my students of the day were working on a lesson about contractions (the grammar kind), a little boy walked in, quietly took a seat and pulled his coat over his head. I patiently coaxed him to take the coat off, and asked if he would like to work on the same lesson as the other students, having determined he was a Special Needs student and only in the room for a short time.
The Inclusion Specialist was with us for that hour, so after a few minutes of saying it was not his regular lesson, he walked over and joined her small group. He did just fine, writing the contractions along with the three other children, and proudly brought the paper to me for review. After a few extra minutes in the group, he was off again- back to his self-contained class. This time, he walked with confidence.
Education, these days, is developing a penchant for several pathways: Besides the neighbourhood/wide area school, and its long-time alter ego, the private school, there are charter schools, computer-based academies and home schooling. The idea of one size fitting all is going by the wayside. There are many upsides to the idea of education being a bazaar, of sorts.
The point that matters most, though, is the mindset of the educator. Having been brought up to include everyone who happens by, in whatever I am doing at the time, whenever possible, the idea of marginalizing or of outcasts, leaves me rather cold. Especially with children, the circle must embrace and raise up those who might easily be forgotten or displaced. It doesn’t take all that much effort, and for the Post-Millennial generation, it is the most natural thing in the world to encourage those viewed in former times as misfits and outcasts.
I was reminded of this again, this afternoon, while reading a post from another blogger about the haughtiness of some in a tony suburb, in another state, and how easy it is for them to draw tight lines around their social circle. Perhaps adulthood, such as it is, can have this effect on people- but who is the more mature, in such a situation?